Spotlight on Student Success #3 – February 4, 2015

OCC’S Financial Literacy Forum Helps Students Face Reality

Financial Credit Union (FFCU) and Ocean County College (OCC) joined forces as part of OCC’s “Student Success” course. During the fall 2014 semester, FFCU offered a “Financial Literacy Forum” attended by approximately 200 OCC students. The purpose of the forum was to help students wake up to the financial reality they will face once they graduate and start living on their own.

During the forum, students used a worksheet to plan a budget built on the yearly salary they might expect to earn based on individual majors. Students then paid taxes, saved money for retirement, made monthly rent or mortgage payments, paid health insurance premiums, among other expenses in order to see how well they could manage their money. In the end, students discovered if they had leftover finances to eat out, go to the movies, buy new cars, take vacations, pay for gym memberships, and update their wardrobes.

According to Maureen Reustle, OCC Dean of Academic Services, it was a real eye-opener. “The students got a first-hand look at what it’s like to manage their finances – the forum helped them to take a second look at what they spent their money on and how their career choice will influence their lifestyle.

“The financial reality forum is just one small part of our ‘Student Success’ class. The overall class is designed to assist students in building a solid foundation for a successful college experience through development of critical thinking, information literacy, interpersonal and academic communication, and resource acquisition,” Reustle explained.

OCC’s Center for Student Success (CSS) coordinates efforts to improve the academic experience of students, with special focus on the first year experience (30 or less credits). CSS provides an array of academic support services designed to engage students in learning opportunities, both in and out of the classroom. CSS offers an array of services for students including a first year experience course, tutoring, a testing center, disability services, peer mentors, and NJ STARS enrichment.

Students who successfully complete the course are more likely to graduate; have higher GPAs; form connections and relationships with classmates; be more engaged, effective learners; be involved in campus activities; and have a better attitude about higher education.

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